How to Throw a Spiral in Football


You must develop smooth passing mechanics to throw a consistent spiral. The critical points are at the beginning with the grip and at the end with the release. “The grip is personal,” New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning told the New York Times. “The key, really, is not to hold it too tight.”

Things You'll Need

  • Football.
  • Find the grip that works for you. Place different fingers on the laces at different places, looking for maximum control. Grasp the ball comfortably with your fingers. Don't try to squeeze the ball. Keep your palm off the ball.

  • Hold the ball at the top of your chest, with the front tip of the ball pointing down diagonally. Place your non-throwing hand on the ball, directly across from your throwing hand, to stabilize it. Keep your hands relaxed.

  • Point your lead shoulder at the target and keep it closed. Put your plant foot perpendicular to the target. Bring the ball back behind your head with your throwing hand, turning it so the front of the ball is pointing behind you. Take a quick step toward your target while whipping the ball forward. Drive the front elbow down and through while pushing off with the back leg and with your back foot pivoting toward the target.

  • Release the ball just past your head. Apply spin with your fingers. Leave your fingertips on the ball as long as possible, with your index finger the last to touch the ball. Finish your throw with your palm going outward and the nose of the ball up.

  • Bring your throwing shoulder all the way through, so that it points at the target. This full shoulder motion adds additional spin to your spiral.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep elbow above your shoulder while throwing.
  • Keep your shoulders parallel to the ground.
  • Your shoulders and hips must work together.
  • The closer to the middle of the ball you hold it, the more control you will have.
  • Your throwing hand thumb should be pointing down after your release, not up.
  • Do not snap your wrist down and in on release. That will make it harder to throw a spiral.

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  • Photo Credit Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images
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